The Role of Information Communication Technologies in Enriching Adult Education Theory Building

The Role of Information Communication Technologies in Enriching Adult Education Theory Building

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-906-0.ch001
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Communication technology has influenced every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Yet, much of the literature on this influence focuses on the impact it has had on our actions and on the practice of teaching and learning. Little has addressed the impact of communication technology on the theory building in the field of adult education. How has it influenced the movement forward of the field itself? How has it changed the communication among professionals and between professionals and students? It has been almost 100 years since Adult Education made its entry into the arena of professions and fields of study. In recent decades, Malcolm Knowles is credited with popularizing adult learning theory, yet Stephen Brookfield, Jack Mezirow, Maxine Greene and Knud Illeris are among those who have moved the field forward. Along with this progression in theory, the utilization and sophistication of communication technology has escalated. This chapter will focus on the influence of communication technology throughout this history of adult education, particularly its influence on communities of learning and communities of practice for the experienced and the emerging adult educational professional and how it might enrich the future of the profession.
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This chapter explores the role of information communication technology in the development of the field of adult education and suggests how today’s Web 2.0 technology can enhance the field’s future growth. To understand the background of this influence, each of these two components will be explored individually.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Web 2.0: The second generation of the internet particicularly known for its enhanced social networking features.

Learning Community: A group of students committed to learning collaboratively.

Transformative Learning: The process of becoming critically aware of our assumptions which may result in a change in perspective and acting upon these new understandings

Critical Reflection: The process of analyzing and questioning experiences and assumptions

Communities of Practice: Learning communities whose members share a common field of practice or profession.

Adult Learning: The process of gaining knowledge and expertise that is unique to adults

Social Networks: informal groups of learners who interact regularly for the purpose of learning.

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